Lucky ducks: Thirteen ducklings rescued after falling into drain

May 22, 2024

MIDDLEBORO — Thirteen proved to be a lucky number for a flock of days-old ducklings that owe their lives to an alert resident and the intervention of the Middleboro police, fire and animal control departments.

The tiny wood ducklings were having an ordinary afternoon on Sunday, May 19, doing what ducklings do. The group was following their mother, as she hopped off a curb near the corner of North Main and Barrows streets.

The mother safely made her way across a storm drain. But her babies had no such luck.

The babies, estimated at no more than two weeks old, were too small to navigate the drain.

Instead, they fell through.

Fortunately, an alert neighbor saw what had happened and contacted public safety officials.

The fire department used tools to pry open the lid of the drain, Animal Control Officer Kevin Racicot said.

The little ones were too small to be netted so they were lifted out, by hand, until all 13 were safely rescued.

The mother duck was nowhere in sight. The ducklings were placed under a nearby bush, in hopes their cries would draw mom to their side. But that didn’t happen.

Racicot said he wasn’t particularly surprised by that. Unlike mallards, which have more chill personalities, wood ducks “are very prone to stress.’’

So instead of having a reunion with their duck mother, the ducklings were transported to a human mother of sorts, a wildlife rehabilitation specialist in Carver.

The ducklings were so small that a trash bag had to be placed over the opening of the pet carrier used to transport them because they could sneak out the cage openings, Racicot said.

“They were pretty young,’’ he said. “It was crucial to get them to a rehabber’’ as quickly as possible.

All 13 survived the initial experience and are receiving care from the specialist. She will work with them until the little ones are ready to be released.

After that, they will be returned to the wild— where, hopefully, their future experiences will be far less draining.